The Los Angeles Chargers notched their third win in a row, shutting out the Denver Broncos, 21-0.
Offense: Travis Benjamin – All throughout training camp, we saw Benjamin make highlight reel catch after highlight reel catch and talk about returning to form. On Sunday, Benjamin put it all together. While he had a 65-yard punt return touchdown on special teams, his 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter put his team over the top, sealing the victory..
Defense: Chris McCain – McCain has been on a tear since the start of the season. He had three sacks coming into Sunday's game against Denver, and added two more along with two forced fumbles as well. His play has solidified him as a stalwart on the Chargers defensive line, and one who can impact opposing quarterbacks along with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Unsung Hero: Drew Kaser – Kaser earned this honor last week for the second-straight Sunday as his play helped flip field position all day for the Chargers. He averaged 51.6 yards per punt against the Broncos, pinning them inside the 20 on three occasions. His longest, which came in the third quarter, went for 69 yards which tied his career-high. It was also downed at the one-yard line.
Stat of the Game:
Travis Benjamin returned Denver's first punt of the game 65-yards for a touchdown. It was the Chargers' first punt return for a touchdown since Micheal Spurlock in 2012 vs. the New York Jets. The return also ranks as the ninth longest in Chargers history. Meanwhile, it marked the fourth punt return for a TD of Benjamin's career, and his first since 2015 with the Cleveland Browns.
Play of the Game:
Midway through the first quarter, Ross Dixon stepped back to punt from his own 19. His effort went 46 yards and skipped into the arms of Travis Benjamin at the Chargers' 35-yard line. Benjamin then rushed up the middle and with green grass ahead of him, cut left to find the end zone for the 65-yard score.
Following a Denver punt, the Chargers offense got the ball back just under two-minutes into the second quarter. The team went 64 yards in eight plays to get the ball to the Broncos' one. On first-and-goal, Philip Rivers stepped back and looked left to toss a pass to Austin Ekeler. The running back corralled the ball and rushed left to get in the end zone. The touchdown made it a two-score game, putting the Bolts firmly in control the rest of the afternoon.
It Was Over When:
With 5:51 left in the fourth, Rivers stepped back and tossed a short pass to Benjamin who caught it in stride over the middle. From there, number 12 cut right and beat Justin Simmons to find the end zone. His touchdown put the team over the top.
*"We turned over a page. We started climbing a mountain. I think we are headed in the right direction. We are not where we want to be, but we'll get there. We started making plays, especially, the clutch ones." – DE Melvin Ingram *
"We believed in each other. We know how far we came and we know how hard we worked. We just had to keep it together and kept believing and now here we are." – WR Keenan Allen
"We put some games back to back. Like I said before, we put ourselves in a hole. Now we are just digging. We have our hats on, our heads down, and we are just working and digging." – RB Melvin Gordon
Odds and Ends
The Broncos outgained the Chargers in total yardage, 251-242. The Chargers held an 80-69 advantage on the ground, but Denver had a 182-162 edge through the air.
Jahleel Addae led the defense with nine total tackles. Chris McCain and Joey Bosa each had two sacks, while Melvin Ingram had one.
Philip Rivers earned his 100th career regular season victory. He is the fifth active quarterback with 100 or more wins.
Chris McCain's two sacks gave him his first multi-sack game for his career.
With both getting to the quarterback, the sacks for Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa marked the seventh time since Bosa's debut in 2016 that the pair has taken down the quarterback in the same game.
Linebacker Nick Dzubnar served as today's honorary captain.
Inactives for the Chargers included QB Cardale Jones, WR Dontrelle Inman, RB Branden Oliver, RT Joe Barksdale, T Tyler Marz, TE Sean Culkin and DT Corey Liuget.